Jeffrey City

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Sir Basil

Original poster
A street yawns before you. It's cobblestone, as if the modern era hasn't yet come to the sleepy seaside town of Jeffrey City, and cobblestones are as common as anything in the world. The rain came down steadily, and made the gray interlocking bricks gleam beneath your feet. The thick fog prevents you from being able to see anything distinctly, even those close to you have slightly fuzzy edges, as if they were a photograph soaked in water that has begun to blur and fade. People look at your cautiously from the sidelines of the street- outsiders are obviously not too common in the small town of Jeffrey City.

You know a little about the place, and you can gather from the architecture that this red-bricked district was constructed in an era far from modern, probably back during the industrial revolution, as the soot coating the edges of the red bricks might indicate. The factories appear to have long been disused, there's no smoke in the air, just fog, swirling around people and buildings like a phantasm. Several police officers mill about, their badges flashing brilliantly, one of the only clear things in this water-logged down. They seem concerned about something, muttering orders into black radios that crackle with every word.

It was beautiful afternoon, despite the sleet and rain, and above the smell of moisture and wet stone came a smell of coffee and pastries. A bakery near by perhaps. The cheerful aroma contrasted strangely with the police, who were looking increasingly and increasingly nervous....


Taras looked around at his surrounding. He began to get a sinking feeling in his stomach. This place felt too much like home, what, with the dampness and the style of the buildings. He had been raised on the Northeast coast of America, where the trees were coated in moss, and the people were equally wet behind the ears. The young Russian man fished in his pocket, coming up with the white letter that had sent him here. He scrutinized the signature, trying for the hundredth time to figure out what the letters mean. Or rather, what the letters are.

He glanced at the police, and at the few civilians milling about. Some of them look anxious and worried too, Taras noticed and he couldn't help wondering what was going on, and if one of these people sent him this letter. He noted some other people arriving at the town who appeared to be outsiders, just like him. He wondered what had brought them here. He had never even heard of this town before the letter came to him. He couldn't stop himself from thinking, maybe the letter was sent from him.

"Perfect, simply perfect." Sukki spoke and 'snap' took a pic of the surroundings around her as she walked. Sukki couldn't help herself, the moment she step foot in this town, she was busy taking photographs rather than look for the person who had called her here. Observing the pictures she had taken in her camera she then looked around, her vision was blurry, he took of her Ray Ban style glasses and wiped them with her shirt and then wore them, the atmosphere got her glasses all blurry very soon. Sukki finally let go of her camera as it hung around her neck, her blue bag hanging on her shoulder she let her hands brush through her plum hair. People looked at her oddly as they passed by, she was seen as a tourist and it kind of made her feel weird. Sukki was walking along finding her way, she was lost some what day dreaming about who it could be, this town was so mysterious and eerie. Sukki was looking down and walking and all of a sudden she bumped into a man and instantly turned red from embarrassment. This man, Taras, was tall and quite older than her, "Gosh I am so sorry I really didn't mean to." Sukki spoke instantly blabbing quite fast.
The rain trickled down the side of her face as her wet matted hair stuck to the side of her cheeks. She moved the pieces of hair away and tucked them behind her ears. Showing the dangling earrings, and the high of her cheek-bones even more than before. Taking off her sandals the feel of the cobble stone pavement felt nice and cool. The fog rolling in, was definitely a sign to find somewhere to sleep soon. Janet shield her eyes as if bright lights were in front of her. Only they were not. She continued to walk through the streets of Jeffery, hoping that someone would help her in finding a nice quiet place to stay. An old man on the side of the street, she noticed was looking at her strangely. Her body shivered in disgust as the man looked like he hadn't showered in days. The ragged clothes of the man smelled. She could smell him from where she was standing which was on the other side of the street.

"Hey sir."

She spoke softly hoping that he'd respond and help her find her way.

"Do you think you could tell me where I could find a decent place to stay for the night while I get situated?"

She looked at the man as she spoke, waiting for his reply.

"Sure, right over there to your left. Go down the street just a little bit, and there's a motel there. Most people stay when they're new in town."

Janet looked up and smiled at the man, tossing him a single dollar bill.

"Thank you kind sir."

She turned away looking towards where he was pointing. The man's voice she could still hear. Rough and raspy. It sounded like he hasn't talked to anyone in ages. Most of his words were over cut by sound that seemed like it wanted to come out but didn't. She sighed heavily knowing that this was going to be a long night. One that she wouldn't forget. "God, what is that smell." A smell she hadn't recognized before. One that was almost sickening to her. All Janet wanted to do was get inside from the rain, and get a good nights rest in order for her to go out and search the city once more.
One sugar. Two sugars. Three. Four. Five.

Lester's hand jerked open and the sugar sachets fluttered into the mist. He was hunched over a small table outside the bakery, his other hand trembling as it lifted the coffee. He hadn't moved for an hour. The police were everywhere - badges in the darkness, like jaws waiting to snap. He took in the sugar-loaded drink and tried not to draw stares. Other chairs and tables were occupied, but he couldn't make out their shadowy patrons. Just the smell of coffee and bread... the murmur of conversation.

The coffee sweats made everything worse, with his clothes already damp from the sweat of three days on the run. There was a hole in the sunshade above his table and through it the rain came like stinging needles. He felt himself dissolving, like sugar lost in the foamy swirl of lukewarm coffee.

Why were the police here? How could it be... He had only been missing for three days. It wasn't fair. Others got away with these things. Why couldn't he? For once in his life why couldn't he just have a moment...?

His other hand moved for the muffin, the little cake brought to keep the bakery assistants happy. He needed to stay here as long as he could and keep off the streets. The streets would be the end of him. He bit into the muffin, but tasted nothing. Food had lost all meaning to him. He could barely taste the sugar.

He could swear the cobbles were getting redder, that the walls of the old buildings were turning crimson, bleeding through the soot. Stanway's blood... all of it... flowing downhill from the city, through the soils, along the waterways... pooling in this town which now ensnared him. He had the faintest memory of his car giving out, running dry of gas on the edge of town; and then the cobbles, one after the other, his body stooped until it felt like he was climbing the face of some relentless pyramid. How far had he walked... and where had he arrived?

His chewing stopped abruptly, the swallow forced and painful. His gaze drifted right, through the coffee steam, and fixed upon the muffin. And there... in the crater of the half-bitten cake... a cockroach writhed in its death throes.

It took every ounce of Lester's will to remain in his seat.

His sweatdrops splashed into the coffee.
Taras looked down at the woman who had run into him. She was pretty, he supposed, but Taras took no faith in that sort of thing. Beauty was no indicator of somebody's character, as he had learned. As He had taught him. He had learned many things from that shadowy figure of the past. No. Wait. Don't think about him. if you think about him, you might never get out of that state. He took a deep breath and looked at the girl with weary dark eyes, the circles around them seemed intensified int he gloom of Jeffrey City's persistent rain and cloud cover. He was worried. Frightened, even, and it showed on his face.

"It's quite all right," he said. His voice was accented. Russian, to the lay man, Ukrainian to the expert, "I am, uhm, looking for someone," He stuck out his hand awkwardly, as if social interaction was something new and frightening to him, "My name is Taras Novikov," He glanced around the town-front that he stood in. He looked at his slip of white paper, "I don't suppose you sent me here?" He showed her the letter, "I got this in the mail."

He looked up at the sky, "Why don't we talk in that cafe over there," He gestured through the fog to a blinking neon light, "This rain doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon."
Walking down the street Janet looked around. The bum didn't give very good directions. She was already lost. Frustrated, the smell of burnt coffee flew past her. It smelled good for what it was. She had a knack for following senses. Seeing as she was going to follow this one, at least it would get her out of the rain. The cobblestone pavement was a bit more slippery under her feet. It was harder to keep her grip. Gripping her bags tighter she finally got to a building that had a few people in it. It wasn't like her to just barge in, but she wanted to get out of the rain and find a place to stay for the night.

Placing her hand on the door knob, she pushed it open and looked around. The smell of the coffee was stronger now and it almost made her sick to her stomach but she kept it in. Breathing a little easier now that she was inside, she took off her wet coat and placed it over her somewhat dried clothes on her arm. While dropping her suitcase down, with a bunch of other things she had, she took her hat off and shook it off a bit. Then proceeded to pick up her suitcase walking towards the counter.

The bodies in the coffee shop seemed to be staring at her, but ignoring it like she did, she asked the waiter quietly. "Two sugars, and some milk please." Her eyes followed closed and she relaxed more, though still trying to rack her brain for a place to stay. Quickly, she put her belongings next to her on the floor, with her coat covering them, and folding her arms over in front of her while she waited for her order to come.
Sukki was blushing badly for such an embarrassing act but the man was kind, "I am, uhm, looking for someone," Sukki's head turned up to that, she noticed he had a strong Russian accent it fascinated her she always wanted to go to Russia. Sukki got herself back to reality, she had a habit of getting drifted away easily. "I don't suppose you sent me here?" Sukki was about to open her mouth to speak when he asked this and she knew now he couldn't be the one who called her but it got her wondering he was called too by someone. She took the letter and nodded, "Ofcourse so coffee or tea what ever it is it's on me just to make it up to you." Sukki smiled at the man she didn't care if it seemed odd who knew he could be a good friend for as long as they're in town. Walking in Sukki found a nice spot where they sat and then she observed the letter and almost gasped. "You don't know who gave you this?" she asked looking at the letter again and then pulling out her own from her bag and showed it to the man placing it in front of him on the table along with his own. "Their identical except for our names."
Katelynn stood in the waiting area of the city's motel. The place looked run down and the constantly flickering lights were really starting to piss her off. ~Seriously...~ She thought as she drummed her fingertips on the counter impatiently. ~Why did Matt send me to this crappy place? Some vacation...~ But these weren't her true thoughts on the place, it was just her annoyed mood taking over and making everything out to be horrible. She actually liked being in Jeffery City, the people and buildings had such an...air about them. Like they all shared the same deep dark secret and if there was something Katelynn really loved it was secrets.

Finally the motel clerk came to the front desk, entering the small area from a door behind the counter. Her thoughts wandered to what might be beyond that door, and about what he could possibly have been doing for all this time. Before the man could even speak she had formed a story in her mind about how he was secretly butchering people in the back room, people who had also checked into this hotel. She giggled at this thought, her fiction horror filled mind was always coming up with some interesting stuff.

"Can I help you?" The man gave her a wierd look, as if he thought she was wierd for giggling to herself.

"Well I'd obviously like a room." Katelynn gave the man an evil smirk and set down her credit card. "Not like I'm here to sell girl scout cookies or some shit like that."

"Gotcha'..." He took the credit card and turned away from her, mumbling the word bitch under his breath. When he turned back to face her she was handed her credit card along with a key that had a room number tag on it.
Taras looked down at the card that she had been given as well. She was right - they were identical, down to the placement of every typed letter, and the curve of each branch of the signature. Taras glanced around the diner - there was a shady man in the corner who looked like he was greatly troubled. Taras wondered to himself if he had received the card too. A woman, worried looking almost, with a suitcase, and rather soaked. He was certain he had seen her on the street earlier at one point. He narrowed his dark eyes, considering. Why would the letters have come to so many people, what was the motivation of the writer?

He set his letter on the table, in plan view of everybody else, hoping that others would come up, and ask him about it. He looked at the woman infront of him, "Has anything... strange, ever happened to you, miss? Anything that would warrant somebody sending you a letter like this," He ran a hand through his dark hair. He was young, but it was starting to get speckled with grey, "Have you ever been to this town before?"
The man looked with surprise at both the letter and then glanced around as if looking for someone else, she wondered who he was looking for but then he turned to her and asked her if she had experienced something strange before or had he ever been to this town before. Sukki gave it a thought for if something unusual had ever happened, he sort of opened her mouth but then stopped, pausing and then spoke finally, "Nope pretty much your average girl who never seems to fit anywhere but this is not my first time, my dad told me we had been here years ago though I was too small to even remember a thing but I have vague memories you could say. Dad said our stay was only for 12 hours or less so I don't know of anything strange has ever happened to us before."

When she was done she hesitated but then asked the question to him, "Have you experienced anything unusual? I'm guessing by the look it's your first time here."
He had moved inside, taking a table in the corner of the bakery-cum-diner. He had thought it would hide him from the police officers and the biting rain. But instead he felt trapped. Beneath his coat he was sweating, and the murmurs inside the room found maddening resonation between his ears. Wincing, he slumped over the table and nursed the last of his stone-cold coffee.

He needed to shower... to sleep... to hide beneath the earth where no noise nor peering eyes could find him. From first step into this town he felt exposed, lifted on a pedestal, borne upon a cross, raised aloft like burnt offering to the unseen god.

There were others with the letter... like the one he had found in that room. He saw it, flashing in the periphery of his vision. But not like his... clean... untainted by Stanway's blood. He was seeing things... surely... the figments of his own delirium multiplying around him.

He had to keep still. Just don't move and they won't see you.... nothing will happen...

Time will stop.

Please... just stop...
Taras swallowed. He looked down at the card on the table, and the thought nagged in his mind. He could have sent the letter, and this whole thing, this girl brought here by the letter - could all be some part of His scheme to get back at Taras. The young East European looked up at his booth-mate with his dark, long lashed eyes, "I suppose I have. But who hasn't in their time experienced something strange and uncanny?" His voice echoed through the diner, the sound of it going over the smell of the coffee. He looked up, and there was a diner-girl.

Blonde, wearing a blue dress, and her name was embroidered on a patch. It proudly said, 'Valerie.' He started at it for a moment, and said curtly, "Coffee please," He leaned back in the booth, considering things for a moment, "I've never been here before, no. I have heard about it," he smiled faintly, "There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was read ghost stories set in ghost towns, like the broken down part of this town..." He trailed off, and dipped his head a bit, "But I don't read much into that anymore. I'm an investigator, these days."
Sukki heard as the man, Taras spoke. "So you mean you're some sort of agent or detective?" Sukki asked curious and fascinated, this man was so mysterious himself. "So since you're an investigator do you have like have a guess who it could be who called us?" She further asked, it was strange how he was some sort of agent with no clue of who ould have called them. "By the way my name is Sukki and you are?" She wondered he'd think she asked a lot of questions but that's how she was. The place really looked gloomy and dark just like her little brother would say 'all gloomy doomy'.
Katelynn nodded her thanks and picked up her luggage with her free hand. A cockroach zoomed past her foot and she yelped in surprise. "Th-there are b-bugs in this hotel?" She turned her wide blue eues up to where the clerk should have been but it appeared that he had once again gone into the back room. "Great. Just great."

A few deep breaths later and she was carrying her bag up to her floor, her hand tightly clenching the handle while her skin crawled. ~I did not take a break away from writing my best horror novel of all time to stay a few nights in this crappy motel.~ She used the key to open her door and threw her bag into the room, hurridly closing it and locking it again. "I so don't want to see what is in that room right now..." She grumbled to herself as she walked back to the lobbey, noting that the clerk was still gone. "Probably is killing people in the back room." She stepped outside and into the raining streets of Jeffery City.

"Seriously? It wasn't raining when I got here..." She spotted a cafe across the way and grinned to herself. "I guess I can wait for Matt while drinking some coffee." At the mention of her editor she fingered the note in her pocket that she assumed was from him. She chuckled to herself and quickly walked across the street, pulled the door open to the shop and ducked inside. The place wasn't as packed as StarBucks but she did noticed that a lot of people looked her way. ~Guess people don't visit much from out of town.~ Silently she walked up to the counter and ordered the first thing she spotted on the menu, still feeling as if everyone in the room was looking at her. The person working the counter handed her her drink and she dug around in her pocket for some cash. The note from Matt fluttered to the floor at her feet while she paided for her drink.

Taras glanced at her and offered her a weak smile. She was rather upbeat, especially for a place like this. It wasn't that Jeffrey City was particularly run down, it was that the city seemed tired out - the old district was a yawn, and the new, disused buildings were the teeth in a gaping mouth. The man sighed, and ran a hand through his thick, dark hair, pulling it out of his face. His eyes were dark and downcast, much like the city itself. The young man pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He looked up when he saw the girl enter the room - and the letter fall from her pocket. Taras choked, slightly, as he struggled to light his cigarette. He tried to hide it, but he ended up coughing heavily, despite his best efforts. He glanced back at Sukki, "I told you my name, but I don't blame you for forgetting. It's a hard one to remember. Taras. Taras Novikov." He stood up, pushing his chair in, "And I'm not much of an investigator. I was to be a private detective but that worked out... poorly." He smiled again, and it came out even more forced than before, "Excuse me for a moment, Sukki."

He walked calmly up to the other girl. The one who appeared to be struggling. He bent down, and picked up the note, handing it to her, "I believe this is yours," He said, trying to convey as much courtesy and calmness as he could. He was anxious yes, anxious to learn what this was all about. He noted her flustered nature with his dark eyes, "You must be new here as well. Drawn here by that letter no doubt," He was going out on a limb here. If that wasn't what brought her here, he must have come across as crazy. That was fine. It had happened before.
Katelynn let out a small gasp when the man talked, he was so close to her and she hadn't even realized it. That's what happened when she was in a room full of people, she zoned out and went into her own little world. With a deep breath she turned to face him and noticed that he was handing her a piece of paper. "Oh!" A smile lit up her face and she took it from him. "Indeed I am new here. Bet you can sense my nervousness." She gave him a small wink and continued to smille. "And yes, this letter. It's from my editor, I'm a horror novelist, Matt." ~Atleast that's what I hope...~ Doubt creeped back into her mind as she looked the letter over, it was typed so there was really no way of knowing for sure. Her smile slipped a bit and then completely vanished. "Okay so I'm not really sure if it's from Matt but who else could it be from right?" She nibbled on her bottom lip, unaware that she had just said that out loud.